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Marathon County committee approves cat care cuts for shelter

Wausau alderman Keene Winters talks about shelter funding with Marathon County supervisors, May 6 2013
Wausau alderman Keene Winters talks about shelter funding with Marathon County supervisors, May 6 2013

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - Marathon County's finance committee is recommending a cut to stray cat funding.

The county’s Impoundment Task Force sent that recommendation to the committee, asking that the county stop paying for the care of stray cuts from taxpayer dollars. Currently the county pays for $70,000 dollars of it's annual $130,000 contract with the shelter with funding from dog licenses. The rest currently comes from tax levy.

The task force plan would give local municipalities 60-thousand dollars for cat care next year, 30-thousand dollars in 2015, and no payments after that. County supervisor Todd McDonald says the county doesn't have the money that the Shelter is asking for. "The Humane Society says they need $305,000 annually. We can't cover those expenses."

Finance committee chair Kurt Gibbs says the county is stuck for animal handling with the Humane Society. "No other society in the area had the capacity to handle the animals that MCHS handles."

While the county tries to get a handle on animal costs, they are negotiating a new contract with the Humane Society of Marathon County which has funding shortages of its own. Shelter director Mary Kirlin says they do need the money. "We're full. We're on animals. There's some confusion on whether we're still taking animals and cats, yes we are." She says she's disappointed with the county's decision, but that the process isn't over yet.

Wausau City alderman Keene Winters says it’s possible these issues can be solved if the new plan for pet licensing and online tracking of vaccinations used in Wausau, Weston, and a handful of other municipalities were expanded county wide.